Green light sought for next stage of Western Link plans
Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet is to be asked to give the go-ahead for the next, important phase of the £212.7m Western Link development.
The Cabinet will consider a report, on Monday 8 July, recommending that they accept the offer made by the Department for Transport to confirm ‘Programme Entry’ for the scheme into its Large Local Major Schemes Programme.
Approval from the Cabinet would pave the way to the start of the pre-construction stage of the works. This would involve a wide range of activities, the most significant being the preparation by the council of a Final Major Transport Scheme Business Case.
This final business case is required to secure full approval from the Department for Transport. Gaining full approval would allow the scheme to be constructed, unlocking £142.5m in government funding -with the remaining £70.2m coming from the council.
Western Link - a new 3.2km length of road, connecting the A56 Chester Road to A57 Sankey Way - aims to reduce congestion and ease traffic flow, particularly in the town centre, by providing an alternative route avoiding the severely congested Bridgefoot and Brian Bevan junctions.
Warrington’s outline business case – submitted to the government in 2017 - outlined the ambition to ensure there is sufficient transport infrastructure in place to allow Warrington’s growth and economic success to continue.
The link aims to deliver up to a 30% reduction in congestion around the town centre, cutting journey times through it and helping to improve air quality in already established Air Quality Management Areas.
It will also provide greater ease for journeys getting in, out and through Warrington by constructing a high-level bridge crossing over the Manchester Ship Canal, which will reduce the impact of ship canal swing bridge openings on Warrington’s highway network, providing additional resilience.
The project - the most ambitious step in the development of the overall Waterfront programme for Warrington - will support the core elements of the Local Plan, including delivery of residential and employment areas, while complementing other town centre highways, transportation and regeneration projects.
If given the go-ahead by the Cabinet on 8 July, the pre-construction stage will also include extensive community engagement at a range of levels, throughout the development and delivery of the scheme. This will include a number of formal consultations and ongoing dialogue with all affected stakeholders and residents.
You can view details of the scheme (including plans and visuals) at warrington.gov.uk/westernlink
Notes to editors
• Warrington Borough Council submitted its Outline Business Case for Western Link to the Department for Transport in December 2017. Subsequently, on 10 April 2019, Ministers confirmed ‘Programme Entry’ for the scheme into its Large Local Major Schemes Programme, with a grant award of up to £142.5m towards the estimated scheme cost of £212.7m.
• Two rounds of public consultation were conducted as part of the Outline Business Case development, in June/July 2017 and in September 2017.
• The first consultation exercise returned a preference for the ‘Red Route’ as the preferred option. The project team then made changes to the Red Route in response to concerns raised, particularly relating to the possible compulsory purchase of residential properties required to deliver the scheme.
• The council managed to reduce this number to four occupied residential properties through changes to the route alignment. This single route alignment was the focus of the second consultation.